Norwegian authorities have been able to locate and seize a small part of the missing funds, with police locking in on $5.9m.
Back in March, North Korean cybercriminals managed to steal as much as $600m from Axie Infinity, using a privacy mixer, Tornado Cash, to launder their ill-gotten gains.
This is the biggest seizure of illegal crypto gains in the country’s history, the National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime confirmed.
Commenting on the case, first state attorney Marianne Bender said that Norway has clearly demonstrated its ability to respond to challenges from cyber criminals that target blockchain operations, even when the criminals used “advanced methods”.
Tornado Cash has since been sanctioned by the US Treasury Department but much of the money had remained missing.
This does not mean that authorities would not be able to locate it sooner or later. Blockchain services do leave a significant trail thanks to the public ledger technology they use.
However, by running stolen funds through mixer services, tracking those funds becomes much harder.
Meanwhile, North Korea remains a threat to global finance and particularly – the crypto industry.
In February, a report presented to the United Nations alleged that the country had stolen as much as $1bn worth of cryptocurrencies in 2023 alone.
Most of these hacks are connected to the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea’s top intelligence service.
The proceeds of these thefts are used to fund the country’s weapons program and advance its weapons of mass destruction projects.
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